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Ealing creatives: lights, camera, action

The borough has always been at the forefront of the country’s arts and culture scene. It’s home to Ealing Studios, one of the world’s oldest film studios, which has produced some of the most iconic British films of the last century and The Marshall company, from a small shop in Hanwell to shaping British and world rock music with its amps and musical equipment.

With our ongoing series ‘Ealing creatives’, the council is introducing you to established and emerging talent in the borough hoping to inspire young people to think about a career in the creative industries.

Our previous episode featured singer, songwriter and actor Tazz. For the second episode of the series meet Jaz Singh Deol, an established actor who has been in the industry for over a decade. Watch him share about his journey as an actor.

What is it like being an actor?

For Jaz actors fall on a spectrum of how much talent they have, and the gap is made up with hard work. He says: “Then you add time, and you grow into it. If you keep at it and are consistent, time and you will just overlap.”

The beginning

Jaz’ first break was in 2012. “One night I was going ‘Okay, how do I get into this industry? How do I get a good agent?’ I was at a loss, because if you need a good agent, you need to be in a show, but to be in a show, you have to have an agent.

“There was a casting website which you had to pay £20 per month. They were looking for young Asian lads for a play at the Bush Theatre called Snookered. I auditioned and got it. This was my first professional theatrical paid debut. The agent I’m with now, saw me in that play and we have been together ever since.”

Improving as an actor

Jaz created a self-coaching process called Rehearse, Record, Review when he couldn’t afford to go to an acting teacher. “Acting is all about listening. I would record the lines of a scene of the other actor, leave an appropriate gap, and I would rehearse like that, listening to the dialogue. I would set a camera up, record it, play the dialogue I recorded and just pretend as if someone was there, like a self-tape, very common for an actor to do.” Jaz would then watch the footage back and create a table of what he liked, didn’t like and what he could improve.

Learning from all characters

You might recognise Jaz since he played a character called Kheerat Singh Panesar on EastEnders. “He’s probably the most culturally specific character that’s similar to me. He’s a turban wearing Sikh man who is of the Sikh faith, the faith of my family.

Jaz adds: “Just his essence and character, his being, taught me how to be a better man. You can develop empathy and see different points of view, even if you’re playing a character that’s doing something completely against your morals. I think every part I’ve done, I always want to approach it as a way of trying to understand a bit about the world.”

Advice for anyone thinking of a career in acting

“The best advice I could give to someone is, know what you want. And of course, knowing what you want changes over time. Sometimes an opportunity comes in and you might think it’s not for you. EastEnders was something I was very hesitant about, but doing it made me the actor I wanted to be.”

Flourishing culture in the borough

Councillor Polly Knewstub, cabinet member for thriving communities, said: “We are extremely proud to have such talented creatives like Jaz in our borough. Not only is he a gifted actor, but he is also inspiring generations of young people from all backgrounds to go into acting.

“We are proud to have launched a cultural manifesto and action plan for the borough which aims to boost local arts, culture and creative industries and support the next generation of Ealing creatives.” 

Join  Ealing arts and culture network to keep up with the latest creative sector news, events and networking.

Why not keep up with Jaz on Instagram?

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